A recent JAMA article highlights bills to reduce drug price increases across states, including Connecticut’s bill. The bills call for clawing back 80% of drug price increases over inflation plus 2% — a healthy profit that many industries would happily welcome. Other states also considering bills include Massachusetts, Maine, Washington, and Hawaii; more are expected to follow. In Connecticut’s last election, lowering drug costs was a top priority for both candidates and voters. According to the latest analysis by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, in 2019 price increases without clinical evidence for just seven drugs cost the US health system $1.2 billion.
According to the JAMA piece, these laws are “low hanging fruit” as price increases on established drugs is a main driver of unaffordable healthcare costs, the laws don’t require sophisticated analysis of launch prices or comparative effectiveness research, are simple to implement, and are likely to withstand legal challenges from the powerful pharmaceutical industry. Over the years, other states have passed meaningful legislation to control drug costs; Connecticut needs to join them.